Sunday, November 2, 2008

Election Countdown "A to Z" (M is for Mom)

M is for Mom
(A personal shout out)

Late last year, I was a Hillary Clinton supporter—or more accurately, I hadn't yet been swayed by the Obama movement. I had gone so far as to write an editorial on how Obama could be an amazing national community organizer. But president? Forget about it. This sentiment relied on the premise that Obama couldn't win. And I had yet to allow myself to hope and aspire like many of my peers were.

My 67-year-old mother, an ardent Democrat, was another story. Sometime last Fall, I had gotten her on a list for an Obama rally in LA. I couldn't be bothered to break away from work and attend. She didn't quite become an Obama supporter on the spot, but she emerged from the Universal Amphitheater well on her way. This sort of transformation was happening all over the country.

But my mom wasn't any doe-eyed kid or first time voter. I assumed she would have supported Hillary, the establishment candidate. And a woman. My mother was also a recently retired veteran public school teacher, long active in the union. She was what the Democratic party would call their base.

But a month later when she told me she intended to vote for Obama, I was as surprised to hear that as she was to hear I wasn't. How did she become the one to embrace the call for change and optimism before me? Obama was supposed to move my generation, not necessarily hers. And how was I the jaded one? I eventually came around sometime after the Iowa primary, but moms was solidly there first.

My mom's always been politically involved and she definitely planted that seed in me. Whether it was her decades of union activities, phone banking during the 1980 presidential race (with me at her side, supporting independent John B. Anderson), or her current role in her local neighborhood council, she's rarely been far from politics.

She called me the other day to say she'd booked a hotel room in Washington D.C. for the January 2009 inauguration. If Obama wins, she wants to be there for the ceremony. I told her I'd be there too, for sure. 28 years after she first put that political bug in me, I can't think of anybody I'd rather celebrate the moment with.

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